- Seven –

- A Good Day -

"I can't come in today." I explained to my boss. "Gabbi's got the flu."

I'd already called her school. During breakfast Jake asked if she had the same flu as I did.

"I hope not." I answered.

"Yeah, me too." He shoved a piece of toast in his mouth. "That was creepy the way you did that." He chewed and continued talking. "You know, if she spaced sitting on the edge of her bed, and then just fell onto her face," he giggled, "then she'd be in big trouble."

"I guess she would." I shifted. The pain in my back suddenly started pulsing.

"Yeah, cuz she has lots farther to fall!" he swallowed then gulped some juice. "Hey, since you're staying home with her, can I stay home too?"

"I don't think so." I smiled, "and use your napkin, not your sleeve."

"Then can you at least give me a ride so I don't have to take the bus?" he begged.

"Maybe," I watched him wipe his sleeve with the napkin. "If you can clean up the dishes."

"Cool, okay." He cleared the table and left everything on the counter.

"Into the dishwasher Jake." I reminded him as I headed up to check on Gabriella. She slept on the top bunk, though she could have chosen either. I was lucky to be able to afford a three bedroom townhouse, so each of them had their own room.

"I'm going to drive Jake to school. Will you be okay for a few minutes?" I felt her head; it was warm, but not burning.

She mumbled something unintelligible, and I took it to mean it was fine with her.

I returned home to a ringing phone, my boss. "Are you sure you can't come in?" she sounded desperate.

"Gabbi's sick, and I just dropped Jake at school." I explained apologetically. "Can't Suzie answer the phones?"

"She called in too. Oh dear."

"I guess I could call the Dick and see if he could" I started but she interrupted.

"No! Don't do that. Good grief, he's enough trouble as it is."

I smiled. She understood. She hated him too. She'd been with me through the end of my marriage. She was so much like a mom to me. I counted her among my blessings.

"I'll call Suzie back. Maybe she can come in. Could you," she hesitated, "maybe just come by and get the call list. Just call and confirm next week's appointments?"

"Sure," I was happy to help any way I could. I heard the phones ringing in the background as she hastily said "thanks" and hung up.

I slipped out while Gabbi slept. I arrived at the office and saw Suzie's van in the lot. I felt awful. She shouldn't have to work when she was sick. I sucked.

"How's Gab?" she asked before I was through the door.

"Flu," I replied, "you?"

"Just a bad time last night."

I made my way around the desk and pulled out the list of next week's appointments. "You sick?" I asked.

"Not physically." Suzie responded.

I understood.

"I called Joe, like you suggested. I saw him last week, and last night I was struggling so much with how to break this to the kids." She started.

I recalled sitting in Joe's office just the night before. It seemed so much longer ago.

"And he actually fit me in to talk. But by the time I got home I was so wound up I couldn't sleep."

"You talked to Joe last night?" I asked, suddenly putting it together. She was the reason I couldn't stay, couldn't talk to Joe, and couldn't work through the nightmare. She was the 'other patient'. I was flabbergasted.

"Yes, thank you so much for recommending him." She stopped to answer the phone. I took the paperwork and left with a wave and a smile, of course, as was expected of me.

I sulkily called the clients noting their responses.

It annoyed me to no end, correct that, I annoyed me to no end. Of course her problems needed to be dealt with immediately. After all, hadn't I tried to minimize this whole nightmare thing? She was dealing with one of the hardest things a parent can, breaking your kids' hearts. That definitely trumped a nightmare.

Still, I was annoyed. How come I always put me last? Isn't that why I had been in such a difficult marriage for so long?

My back ached again and I touched it. It was still tender, but it couldn't have really happened could it? People will think I'm crazy, I thought. Evidence, that's what I needed, and I already had it.

I shoved the list aside. I went to the mirror and tried to snap some pictures of my bruised and scabbed back. They came out reasonably clear, even in the mirror, even with my shaky hands. Then I approached the comforter, the lovely, flowered, patchwork quilt.

I remembered getting that quilt. My grandma and I had been crafting, as we called it. I fell in love with it, but I was only 16. She bought it for me and saved it until I married. I was overwhelmed. There was no way I could have afforded it. All my money went to help my family. She was the one person in my life that saw me for me, and loved me anyway. I never had to be perfect for her. I missed her so much.

Grabbing the corners I shook out the quilt and spread it on the floor. Gabbi came in and watched me. I examined the patch. It sent a chill down my injured spine. Loosening and cutting the threads around it, I folded it neatly, put it in a plastic baggie, and stored it in my drawer.

"Now it's wrecked." Gabbi stated.

"I can fix it." I assured her. "Do you want to help?"

"Yeah!" she exclaimed. We dug through old saved up scraps of fabric and found a piece we thought would look nice. I showed her how to stitch it on. It turned into a lovely day, spending time with my little girl. Any day with my daughter was a good day. We named the patch 'Gabbi's corner'.

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A/N - I am very interested on input regarding this story... More detail? Less? Don't develop characters - stick with the nightmare events? More character dev?

I want to keep you - the reader - on the edge, wanting to read more, not bored or losing interest. So reviews are welcome, of course, as are PMs with ideas/thoughts. Thank you.